Dubious Fairy Tales
The past couple of years have undermined the public’s faith in writers.
The Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times confirmed what most of us always believed—that reporters sometimes make up quotes … and even entire interviews. Then we struggled with the knowledge that a bestselling “memoir” contained as much fiction as fact.
But now it’s getting worse. We are discovering that our fairy tales—the literary bedrock of our civilization—have deceived us.
This revelation emerges from a report out of British Colombia that invalidates the story in which Goldilocks goes to the bears’ house and eats their porridge. We now learn that the real word doesn’t work that way; a woman in West Vancouver returned home recently to discover a bear in HER kitchen eating HER oatmeal.
I feel violated. If the Goldilocks fairy tale duped us, how can we maintain our confidence in the other fables of our youth?
Sleeping Beauty wasn’t in a magical sleep; she was just napping all along.
Cinderella didn’t slide her foot into a glass slipper; she got the handsome prince’s attention through some Fredrick’s of Hollywood get-up.
And how can I still believe that the slow tortoise defeated the speedy hare in that famous race?
Perhaps it’s time to consider exchanging these old fairy tales for some new, more practical ones. Like Little Red Hiding Hood encountering not a wolf, but an online predator. Or the story of the liberal in moderate clothing.
If we don’t consider new fables, we risk that our youth will not learn the right lessons to make their way in today’s world. Maybe outdated fairy tales will threaten our very way of life. Civilization as we know could face extinction.
Or maybe I’m just crying wolf.